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Memories, Emotions and the Future of Motorcycling

The interest our readers showed in our Best Looking Retro Standard article (we now have over 200 comments posted) made me think about the impact the look and feel of internal combustion motors has had on motorcyclists.  Specifically, if the future means that the engines driving motorcycles and scooters forward are electric, with the look of a battery pack and the feel of a spinning top without the pulse of periodic combustion, what will that mean? 

We are all drawn to things we are familiar with that made us comfortable or brought us pleasure in the past.  The beat of our mother’s heart first and foremost.  The look and feel of our first motorcycle as we walked up to it, and then felt it alive between our legs.

The “retro” bikes we admire might someday be illegal or simply impractical.  The type of fuel available might change, or traditional gasoline might simply become too expensive.

Much of what we love about motorcycles will have to be redefined . . . but the “heartbeat” or “pulse” of the internal combustion engine will be difficult to replace. 

80 Comments

  1. Ryder says:

    In addition to my R1200GS, I have had in my garage for the past couple of years a Piaggio MP3. It has an ICE, but with the “automatic” (CVR)type transmission, it is not too different from what an electrically powered scooter would be to ride, I think. And it is a lot of fun. I look forward to the electrically powered motorcycles of the future with happy anticipation, & am sure they will offer us a whole new world of riding pleasure. Some of the great benefits of these riding machines of the future will be very smooth power delivery, comfort, and lots of torque from the get-go.

  2. Barkeep says:

    It won’t be difficult to replace. It will just take a period of adjustment in the riding community. Some of us are eagerly looking forward to what exciting new things are coming next, some are clinging desperately to a more innocent (and affordable) time when we didn’t have the priorities and worries that we do now, and some are just happy to ride. It might take the next generation or two for riders to adapt to a new riding experience, but it will happen as we evolve and the world changes some more. I am personally more interested in what kind of lean angle and acceleration and range i get versus whether or not i can feel mini explosions between my legs. Remember the saying “it’s not what you ride, it’s that you ride”?

  3. Grrrreg:
    Drive like the wind
    Straining the limits of machine and man.
    Laughing out loud with fear and hope
    I’ve got a desperate plan….

    Best curvy road song EVER. While I agree with the sentiments of bikes becoming sterile pod-mobiles, think there will always be a market for liquid-fueled ICE bikes. The great thing is we’ll be able to make the fuel at home (bio fuel or alcohol). At this point, the less money I can send to the Mideast the better. HATE those guys. I’d ride an electric bike every day as long as I have a Bonnie, CBX, MHe, VMax or something similar…

  4. Grrrrreg says:

    My uncle has a country place, that no one knows about…

  5. Tom B says:

    I read recently about a new e-car company that was planning to also build numerous battery replacement centers about the country. So you could pull in to one of these centers, your run down battery is removed and a charged one installed, all in a matter of a couple minutes (assuming no lines). This could be a game changer. It is certainly an interesting new approach.

  6. Lucky says:

    Before WW1, Porsche began his epic career with two designs: an electric and a hybrid. So now people are gaga over the “new” technology. I think it’s sad. Long live the dinosaur.